For years, we have known more than just a few Castro regime State Security thugs have left Cuba and are now living in the U.S. In Cuba, these thugs harassed and violently assaulted dissidents and regular Cubans in the service of the apartheid Castro regime. But upon their arrival here in the U.S., they leave out any mention of their past activities as agents of the regime in their asylum applications and hope no one here recognizes them.
Occasionally, one or two are found out and they scurry into hiding like a cockroaches do when you turn on the lights. However, many of them have been living in the U.S. and even in Miami for years in complete anonymity with no one knowing about their sordid past and crimes against humanity.
Their days of hiding among their victims may be numbered, though. The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba is working to expose these criminals hiding among us.
Exile group targets alleged human-rights abusers in Cuba living in South Florida
A Cuban exile group is forwarding complaints to federal authorities about alleged human-rights violators in Cuba who now live in the United States, with the goal of deporting people who participated in acts of violence and harassment on the island.
The idea behind the project is not to launch “a witch hunt” but “to change the focus of the victims” to those who are guilty of repression, and to give a response to those who have said they have seen people in South Florida who harassed or mistreated them in Cuba, Juan Antonio Blanco, director of the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, told el Nuevo Herald.
Blanco said he had given information about several cases to an investigations unit in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Since it was created in 2004, ICE has deported more than 590 people who committed human-rights violations in other countries or who are suspected of having done so.
According to Blanco, members of the ICE unit “are willing to expand the range and take a look at these cases. It is not that they are going to investigate crimes committed in other countries, but they can review the immigration files of these people, who would not have been accepted into the country if they had told the truth.”
“People who have lied to the authorities have committed a federal crime,” which could end in jail sentences, fines or deportation, Blanco said.
During a press conference on Thursday, the group released the names of two alleged human-rights violators who now live in Tampa and Gainesville and who were identified by several people in affidavits in Mexico, Chile and the United States.
According to a copy of the affidavits obtained by el Nuevo Herald, one of the accused men was a police officer in Cárdenas, in the province of Matanzas, and allegedly sexually harassed one of the complainants and fabricated charges to imprison her.
Two other people accuse the same man of being “one of the most repressive officers of the mid-80s to the ’90s” and of carrying out “hundreds of arbitrary detentions, [and] beatings.”
Hollywood, after all, “has basically turned its products, and its award shows, into showcases for ‘the resistance.’ ” Meanwhile, Americans increasingly are “sorting themselves into communities that are predominantly red or blue.”
Consider last week’s restaurant incidents involving White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen: Such incidents “would have been largely unthinkable a generation ago.”
Says Reynolds: “For many people, politics seems to have become a substitute for religion or fraternal organizations. If you find your identity in your politics, you’re not going to identify with people who don’t share them.”
Garlin Murl ConnerStanding 5 feet, six inches tall and weighing maybe 120 pounds soaking wet, 1st Lt. Garlin Murl Conner may not have been the most physically imposing GI during World War II, but on Jan. 24, 1945 he was an unmovable rock against which a wave of German troops crashed and ultimately rolled back.
Now Conner, who died in 1998, is posthumously receiving the Medal of Honor for his bravery in that battle, during which he called for artillery to shell his own position. President Trump will present the Medal of Honor to Conner’s widow on Tuesday at the White House.
With the U.S. military’s highest award for gallantry, Conner will become the second-most decorated service member of World War II, according to the Army. He is surpassed only by legendary 1st Lt. Audie Murphy.
Conner took part in 10 campaigns with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division during World War II, Army officials said, and he was wounded seven times during 28 months of combat. His awards include three Purple Hearts, four Silver Stars and the Distinguished Service Cross, which is being upgraded to the Medal of Honor.
His injuries couldn’t keep him from service. In January 1945, he was recovering from a wound when he “slipped away from the hospital” to rejoin his unit and volunteered to be an artillery spotter, said Luther Conner, a cousin and attorney who was part of the 22-year effort to have his relative’s heroism recognized with the Medal of Honor. That meant he would be positioned between the U.S. and German lines.
“He interpreted the intelligence role very liberally and thought, ‘Well, no better intelligence than having eyes on the target,’ so that’s when he ran forward,” said Erik Villard, of the U.S. Army’s Center for Military History. “This was not his job, but this is something he felt he had to do.”
With just a field telephone and a Thompson submachine gun, Conner ran from a forest where the rest of his unit was dug in to face about 600 German troops – including a small contingent from the SS – and several German tanks, including the feared Tigers, Villard said.
Connor spent three hours in an irrigation ditch directing artillery fire, Villard said. At one point, German troops came within 10 meters of his position. Rather than pulling back, Conner called the artillery to hit his own position, “and said just keep firing for effect,” Villard said.
With 105mm howitzers and 81mm mortars raining fire on his position and the Germans within spitting distance, Conner likely knew his chances of survival were slim.
“At that point, he’s like: ‘OK, I am not long for this world but I am going to keep that artillery coming down because folks in my battalion who are in the woods behind me – 30 meters – have got to continue the fight,’” Villard said. “I’m sure at a certain point he’s just like: ‘Just keep firing because I don’t think I’m probably going to make it.’”
When his commanding officer asked if the shells were landing close to his position, Conner replied, “It’s already been over my position; it’s behind me now,” Luther Conner said.
Conner’s ability to shoot, move, and communicate during the battle show exactly how the Army is preparing soldiers for future wars, said Maj. Gen. Leopoldo Quintas, commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division.
“That telephone with the wire connected was the most deadly instrument on the battlefield and he could communicate,” Quintas said. “He could call for fire. The other element, I think, that is so important is the element of leadership. He was a phenomenal leader and he was a leader of character.”
Conner never talked about what happened that day, but his wife Pauline Conner said he was obviously traumatized by is wartime experience.
“In World War II and Korea, they didn’t recognize PTSD like they did in Vietnam, but I’ve always said if anybody ever had PTSD he did because many times he’d wake up in the night with nightmares,” she told reporters on Monday. “After I would wake him up, he would go outside and sit on the porch and smoke cigarettes for hours at a time. But he still wouldn’t talk about what was happening.”
Pauline was just 15 years old when she first saw Conner at a parade for his homecoming, she said. She had read about his bravery in the local newspapers, but when she finally saw how slim he was, she told her mother, “My God, that little wharf rat, he couldn’t have done all they said he done,” she recalled.
She described her husband as a humble man who would say “Well, children” in lieu of “dang” or “darn.” She looks forward to meeting Trump on Tuesday to receive the nation’s highest award for valor on her husband’s behalf.
“It’s something he should have done in his lifetime,” Pauline Conner said as she fought back the tears, “but I’m going to be proud to accept it.”
Initially, when Pauline heard that the White House would call her to say her husband would receive the Medal of Honor, she thought it was a scam: “I’m 89 years old and people like to prey on old people like me,” she said.
Luther Conner and his wife were with her when she received the call from the White House. The woman on the other end of the line connected her to the president.
“He told me that he had read Murl’s record and he had done a magnificent job and more than that,” Pauline Conner recalled. “He said, ‘I’m awarding him the Medal of Honor.’
“I told him: You just got to be kidding. ‘No,’ he said, ‘it’s true.’ He said, ‘He deserves it.’ And I said: Well, thank goodness and tell that beautiful wife of yours to give you a big hug and a kiss for me. That was our conversation and I was really thrilled.”
A Labour councillor who was forced to resign as a school governor after claiming that Isis did not exist has been appointed to a council committee dealing with radicalisation.
Safia Akhtar Noor was suspended by Yew Tree Community School in Birmingham after several Facebook posts in which she questioned whether Isis was to blame for terror attacks became public.
Although the school suspended her and she later resigned, she was allowed to stand for Labour in May’s local elections and won a seat in the Small Heath ward with more than 3,000 votes.
She has since been appointed to the children’s social care overview and scrutiny committee, which examines initiatives to prevent radicalisation and has given guidance on the Prevent strategy, intended to halt terrorism.
Terri O’Donnell instantly knew her ex-boyfriend Christopher Regan was missing. However, she was not prepared to later discover he was brutally murdered by his married mistress.
The 55-year-old participated in a new documentary on Investigation Discovery titled “Dead North,” which she hopes will shed light on the man she knew — not the tragic victim he became.
The docuseries chronicles the investigation through shocking interviews, extensive bodycam footage and interrogation room conversations.
Kelly Cochran was sentenced to life in prison without parole in May 2017 after an Iron County, Mich., jury convicted her in the 2014 killing of Regan.
Kelly Cochran who admitted to injecting her husband with a lethal dose of heroin may have killed nine other people and served her lover’s remains at a barbecue. (Lake County Sheriff’s Office)
Then in April 2018, the 35-year-old was sentenced to 65 years in prison for slaying her husband Jason Cochran.
Cochran told police she delivered an overdose of heroin to the 37-year-old and proceeded to put her hands on his neck, nose and mouth until he died less than a minute later.
Michigan prosecutors maintained she lured Regan to her home, where Jason shot him. She then helped dismember him and hide his remains in the woods.
O’Donnell told Fox News her last conversation with Regan still haunts her.
“When I talked to him the last time, he told me that weekend we were going to get together for supper,” she explained. “I tried getting a hold of him and he never responded. And that was very unlike Chris. He would message you right away.
Terri O’Donnell (right) with Chris Regan. (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)
“And when he made plans, he didn’t break them. It was so out of his personality not to respond… There were rumors among our friends he had went to see this woman name Kelly who was married. And that maybe he was with her. But that didn’t matter. He would have responded right away.”
O’Donnell first met Regan in the ‘80s when he was in the Air Force. The two called it quits and then reconnected in December 2012.
The former couple wouldn’t start dating again until February 2013, but split once more in April 2014. O’Donnell said she and Regan remained close until he was reported missing in October.
“Christopher was just wonderful,” she recalled. “He loved life. He loved hiking and the outdoors… He was energetic and always wanted to do something new and learn more. He was continually improving himself and going to school… He even went back to college just so that he could be a better manager at his job.
“He also enjoyed being at home and preparing a fancy dinner. He loved to sit and just converse with you. He had these beautiful blue eyes that would just make you melt. He looked at you like you were the only person that mattered. And he made you feel that. He made you feel like you were on a pedestal all the time. It was an amazing feeling.”
Chris Regan (left) with Terri O’Donnell. (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)
O’Donnell said that they never spoke about dating other people. O’Donnell claimed she didn’t hear about Cochran until Regan went missing. She also insisted that, by the end of August, Regan wanted to get back together again.
“We were spending time together and I would tell him that we needed to take things slow and just be friends and see if things worked out or not,” she explained. “He would send me texts saying… he loved me. I just kept telling him… we gotta take our time. In September he sent me the song ‘Marry Me’ by Train. He was such a romantic.”
On October 14, Regan was getting ready to pack up and start a new job in Asheville, North Carolina. O’Donnell described him as excited to start a new chapter in his life. The pair had made plans to visit each other during Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Instead, a nightmare unfolded.
Michigan prosecutors alleged that the Cochrans, who married in 2002, made a pact on their wedding night that if one of them was unfaithful, they’d kill their lover.
Kelly Cochran (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)
The couple moved to Michigan in January 2015. Cochran testified in court their marriage was allegedly falling apart and she had affairs with other men, including Regan.
According to court records, she lured Regan to her home with the promise of sex when her husband interrupted them and shot Regan.
Investigation Discovery said in a statement that Cochran’s own brother, Colton Caboyan, told investigators he feared his sister was a serial killer and neighbors said they believed they were served human remains, possibly Regan’s, at a barbecue.
One friend who participated in the documentary described eating a strange-tasting burger without realizing at the time it could have been human.
Kelly Cochran (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)
O’Donnell admitted the horrific details of Regan’s death kept her up at night.
“I would go kayaking at night,” she said. “I really just wanted to know what happened to him. But the more and more that came out, like mutilating his body… I had to push it out of my head… I stopped reading the newspaper. I couldn’t read comments online… I guess it just made it more real.”
The Iron County Reporter revealed police targeted Cochran because she was one of the last people to see Regan alive. However, when police searched her home in March 2015, they found nothing. Still, she and her husband moved to Indiana.
But when Jason died in February 2016, evidence revealed it wasn’t just caused by an apparent heroin overdose. Michigan authorities charged Cochran with Regan’s death and then she fled again.
The U.S. Marshals Service eventually tracked her down in Kentucky, where she was arrested and taken into custody. Court documents revealed Cochran spent her time in jail turning her glasses into shanks and threatening to commit suicide, as well as bodily harm to anyone who came near her.
O’Donnell said she was terrified of Cochran.
Kelly Cochran and Jason Cochran on their wedding day. (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)
“The first time I saw her was in the courthouse,” said O’Donnell. “I just remember her staring at me and grinning. I took a deep breath and thought she was the scariest person I’ve ever seen. I was afraid. I couldn’t look at her for the rest of the time I was there testifying. It was like she was… laughing and saying, ‘Look at what I did. You can’t stop me.’… She just sat there and grinned.
“It was like the devil looking at you… And after I testified… I lost it. I totally lost it. I just remember driving, speeding, not knowing if I had crossed the border. I didn’t know if I was in Wisconsin or Michigan… I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to run as far away from Kelly as possible.”
Cochran directed Michigan authorities to a site where parts of the rifle used to shoot Regan were found, as well as a .22-caliber bullet. Human remains were also discovered, including a skull with an apparent bullet hole. A pair of eyeglasses, believed to belong to Regan, were nearby.
O’Donnell insisted Regan’s murder was not the first for the Cochrans.
“I do not think that Chris is the first person that they murdered,” she explained. “There’s just no way that the first person you choose to kill, you’re going to be able to clean up the blood and get rid of the body so that FBI agents can’t pull DNA off the walls… To do what they did to him? I don’t know how you could do that if it was the first person you’ve ever murdered.
Investigator Laura Frizzo searches the woods in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)
“Shooting someone, that’s one thing… You can be far away, pull out your gun and it’s done. But to sit there, take a cut up a body and to then wrap his parts, put it in your vehicle and haul it over to the woods and bury it? There’s no possible way you could logically think through all of that… I truly believe there are other people out there.”
The network added per the provisions in Cochran’s plea, the State of Indiana can never charge her for additional murders. If she chooses, Cochran can provide locations of other victims without any penalty.
She claimed to having other “friends” buried in Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee and Minnesota. However, the identities and specific locations of these bodies remain a mystery to this day.
O’Donnell said she is slowly moving on with her life and is even dating again, but still has a hard time trusting others.
“I question people’s motives a lot,” she admitted. “I’m very aware of people around me… Every summer since Chris’ murder, I’ve traveled out of the country. I don’t know if that’s a coping method.
Investigator Laura Frizzo searches the woods in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. (Courtesy of Investigation Discovery)
“I remember when they were looking for Chris, during the daytime I would walk in the woods, just trying to find something. A piece of his clothing. Just anything. I don’t want to do that anymore. He’s still not completely found. He’s around the county. Which is scary.”
“Dead North” is available for streaming on IDGO.com.
A public university in California features a controversial website that encourages parents to react “positively” when 4-year-olds touch each other’s genitals and says young children should be allowed to watch porn.
The University of California, Santa Barbara hosts an online platform, within the sociology department, called “SexInfo Online,” which is maintained by students “who have studied advanced topics in human sexuality” that seek to answer a myriad of questions on sexuality, The College Fix reported.
“The majority of sexual play between children takes place between the ages of 4 and 7,” the website states in a section titled “Childhood Sexuality,” accompanied by a photo of two little girls that appear to be kissing on a beach. “Children might display affection to their friends by hugging and kissing, or touching each other’s genitals, which is perfectly normal. Parents should not react in a negative way because children are just exploring.”
It adds that parents should intervene only “if the acts are non-consensual or hurtful.”
“It is important that children understand that viewing pornography is a normal habit, and that they do not need to be ashamed of it,” UCSB students wrote.
The article tells parents how to have “the talk” with their kids.
“Children and teens do not want to be told what to do, especially when it comes to personal topics such as sex,” the website states. “It is important that parents do not lecture their children, but instead try to present information and have an open discussion about sex. Adolescents will make their own decisions regarding sex and it is up to the parent to give them the information and resources needed to make informed decisions.”
The school’s department of sociology chair declined to comment and the university did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The anti-Israel boycott movement is a “new variation of anti-Semitism: anti-Zionist anti-Semitism,” a German intelligence agency concluded.
By: Max Gelber
A German intelligence agency has deemed the anti- Israel BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) anti-Semitic, saying it is a “new variation of anti-Semitism: anti-Zionist anti-Semitism.”
The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday that the state of Baden-Württemberg’s intelligence agency, in its May report, wrote that propaganda by the neo-Nazi party Der Dritte Weg (The Third Way) urging boycotts of Israeli products “roughly recalls similar measures against German Jews by the National Socialists, for example, on April 1 1933” when the Nazis used the slogan “Germans! Defend yourselves! Don’t buy from Jews!”
The neo-Nazi organization called Israel a “terror state” and the “Zionist abscess.” The report showed a graphic used by the Third Way showing a Palestinian flag with the words “Freedom for Palestine” over a person whose mouth is covered with an Israeli flag.
Another graphic read “Boycott products from Israel: 729 = Made in Israel,” which refers to the bar code number “729,” an identifier of Israeli-made goods.
Established in 2013 with the participation of former officials of the far-right National Democratic Party and activists affiliated with the Freies Netz Süd (Free Network South), which was banned in 2014, Der Dritte Weg is comprised of radical ethnic nationalists.
The party describes its members as the “conscious neo-Nazi elite,” with the majority classified as very violent.
Party members traveled to Lebanon in March 2017 and lauded Hezbollah’s 2006 war against Israel.
The Third Way’s web page calls for support of convicted Holocaust-denier Horst Mahler.
Labeling BDS as anti-Semitic could have far-reaching consequences for German politicians and organizations that engage in pro-BDS activity, the Jerusalem Post reported.
This is believed to be the first time that a German domestic intelligence agency has labeled BDS as anti-Semitic and a security threat, while German political bodies and politicians at various levels have already recognized BDS for what it really is.
In August, Frankfurt became the first German city to pass a bill outlawing municipal funding for the BDS movement’s activities.
In May 2017, Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) passed a resolution in support of Israel, condemning BDS as anti-Semitic.
In December 2016, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party announced the passing of a resolution declaring BDS anti-Semitic.
The BDS movement promotes financial, academic and cultural boycotts against Israel, ostensibly as a nonviolent struggle against the so-called “Israeli occupation.”
Critics say its activities are a modern form of anti-Semitism and that its true objective is to destroy the State of Israel.
On Friday, Women’s March leader Tamika Mallory – she of the Louis Farrakhan fandom – explained that she believes Israel ought not exist.
Following her trip to Israel and Palestine, and days before the big Israeli event @CelebrateIsrael#togetheron5th, TamikaDMallory answered critics and supporters who asked her if she believes Israel has a right to exist during
She telecommuted in to explain to an event titled “Palestine Is Everywhere” at the Center for Constitutional Rights and Justice Delegation:
My soul would not rest, standing by and doing nothing about it, to know that the US government – my taxpayer’s money, $10 million a day – is going to a government, a military, that takes the lives of people who were there first. There are a lot of people who will say, “Do you believe that Israel has the right to exist?” I believe we all have a right to exist, I want to see all of us live in a free society, where we are all able to raise our families and to be fruitful and have occupations. This is not about stopping one side. This is about ensuring that the native people are able to enjoy their land. They shouldn’t ask anybody for their land! This is their land! When you go to someone’s home and you need a place to stay, you ask “Can I come into your home and can I stay here, and can we peacefully coexist?” You don’t walk into someone else’s home, needing a place. It’s clear you needed a place to go – cool, we got that! I hear that! But you don’t show up to somebody’s home, needing a place to stay, and decide that you’re going to throw them out and hurt the people who are on that land. And to kill, steal, and do whatever it is you’re gonna do to take that land! That to me is unfair. It’s a human rights crime.
In other words, “Sure, Israel should exist, but it really shouldn’t exist.”
Linda Sarsour, another Women’s March leader, then said that Israel was an “apartheid” state and compared Israel to North Korea.
This is historically ignorant stuff. Jewish presence in the land of Israel has been unbroken for thousands of years. The only independent states in the history of the region have all been Jewish. Israel openly invited Arabs living in Israel to stay during the 1947-1948 war for independence, even as Arab regimes informed Arabs living in the area to flee their oncoming armies.
This isn’t shocking stuff coming from Mallory, a devotee of anti-Semite Farrakhan’s. But it’s once again demonstrative of the fact that for intersectional Leftists, Muslim identity outranks Jewish identity – and that anti-Semitism is just fine so long as you hold the correct intersectional credentials.
Virtually every issue has become a partisan football in America’s politicized age of anti-Trump hysteria.
The debate that has bucked this trend is the #MeToo campaign, which has successfully cut across party lines, wealth divides, race and religion. This powerful campaign has focused on taking down anyone who has exploited power and fame for sex, not just stereotypical members of the patriarchy in the form of rich, white males.
We’ve seen Bill Cosby, John Conyers, R. Kelly, Tavis Smiley, Tony Mendoza and Tariq Ramadan publicly shamed along with bastions of liberal values like Eric Schneiderman.
The #MeToo campaign has shown that sexual exploitation is not the purview of only some ethnicities or political parties.
Unfortunately, liberal feminists pick and choose which types of violence against women are worthy of this studiously nonpartisan approach. For example, female genital mutilation, forced marriage and honor violence seem not to be considered egregious enough to be taken up by the broader women’s movement. Instead, these barbaric violations of human rights don’t make it onto progressives’ radar. Rather, they’re excused or ignored by feminists because the perpetrators inflicting the violence tend to have brown skin.
If it were a tradition among white men to remove the genitals of girls and sew their vaginas shut, we can assume the women’s movement would suddenly take an interest. FGM is intended to make sex less pleasurable for women and to impose patriarchal norms about purity and virginity on their bodies. If we can call out the patriarchy in the influential, high-paid, glamorous world of media and entertainment, why on earth aren’t we calling it out when it is being violently imposed between the legs of little girls?
The right of women and girls to be free of abuse has been sacrificed at the altar of political correctness.
Analysis done by my organization, the AHA Foundation, shows that legislators in 24 states hesitate to ban FGM despite evidence of girls at risk in their state. Just recently bills to outlaw FGM and child marriage in Massachusetts were thwarted despite support from both parties. Legislators feared appearing anti-immigrant in a policy debate overshadowed by President Trump’s ham-fisted “Muslim ban.” Despite being one of the bluest of blue states, Massachusetts failed to put the rights of women and girls before political sensitivities.
Similarly, partisan politics turned FGM into a political bargaining chip in Maine and the state still has no protections for girls. Whereas Michigan, where legislators were focused on putting women’s rights above political expediency, ushered in comprehensive anti-FGM legislation at lightning speed.
We do a disservice to women by hijacking their voices to score political points. The campaign for women’s rights has morphed into an anti-Trump crusade. This year the Women’s March is focused on enrolling voters in swing states and promoting progressive candidates. The majority of its anointed candidates are in the Democratic Party and a few are independents. The movement doesn’t bother to give a nod to women’s issues requiring bipartisan support or representation.
If it were serious about advancing women’s rights, the Women’s March movement would work to put those who can deliver for women into office, not just those that tick identity-politics boxes. As a woman of color in politics, I was used as an icon for the issues that matched my gender and skin color. The same will happen to the “identity politicians” being pushed into office today.
Ironically, the women’s movement’s preoccupation with intersectionality will see core women’s issues pushed further down the list of priorities. This cruel ideology asks women of color to remain subjected and abused until we achieve some mythical moment of equality on every score.
Intersectionality entrenches victimhood and prevents men of color from being held accountable for patriarchal attitudes and behaviors, laying the blame entirely on white men.
We must depoliticize women’s rights. We don’t have to agree with each other’s political views but protecting individual human rights must be a given. In a world where half of American women are marginalized, we all lose.
Let’s try to come up with something better. If gay sex is OK, how can incest be wrong?
The old answer was genetics. Germany’s high court relied on that argument two years ago when it upheld the conviction of Patrick Stuebing for sex with his sister. Of the four children the couple produced, three had physical or mental disabilities. In general, studies show a significantly higher rate of birth defects in offspring of incestuous couples. The reason is simple: Every family has genetic flaws, and if you reproduce within your family, you’re more likely to get two copies of the flaw—thereby producing the defective trait—instead of acquiring a new, protective allele from another family.
Many incest laws in the United States invoke this concept. In patently eugenic language, they forbid sex between “consanguineous” (blood-related) partners. But this rationale won’t withstand close scrutiny or the march of technology. If genetics is the issue, just get a vasectomy. Then you can bang your sister all you want. Or skip the vasectomy and bang your brother. Gay sex can’t make a baby, so the problem is solved. As the German court noted, Stuebing could have dodged Germany’s incest law in precisely this way.
Epstein has been charged under a different law. It prohibits sex with any close relative, “whether through marriage or not.” It also applies not just to “sexual intercourse” but also to “oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct.” If the law were rationally based on genetics, it would ignore sex acts that can’t make babies, and it would distinguish relatives by blood from relatives by marriage.
So let’s set aside genetics and consider the next question: exploitation. Nowadays, when we talk about incest, we tend to think of child sexual abuse. That’s how we use the term in the repressed-memory debate and in abortion legislation. When politicians such as President Obama make exceptions in abortion laws for “rape and incest,” they’re using the terms synonymously, except that in the incest scenario, the rapist is your dad.
At this point, liberals tend to throw up their hands. If both parties are consenting adults and the genetic rationale is bogus, why should the law get involved? Incest may seem icky, but that’s what people said about homosexuality, too. It’s all private conduct. To which conservatives reply: We told you so. We warned you that if laws against homosexuality were struck down, laws against polygamy and incest would follow. And now you’re proving us right.
The conservative view is that all sexual deviance—homosexuality, polyamory, adultery, bestiality, incest—violates the natural order. Families depend on moral structure: Mom, Dad, kids. When you confound that structure—when Dad sleeps with a man, Dad sleeps with another woman, or Mom sleeps with Grandpa—the family falls apart. Kids need clear roles and relationships. Without this, they get disoriented. Mess with the family, and you mess up the kids.
That’s the basis on which the Ohio Supreme Court upheld Lowe’s conviction: “A sexual relationship between a parent and child or a stepparent and stepchild is especially destructive to the family unit.” This destructive effect, the court reasoned, occurs even if the sex is adult and consensual, since “parents do not cease being parents … when their minor child reaches the age of majority.” The German court offered a similar argument against sibling incest. Roughly translated, the opinion’s key passage says:
Incestuous connections lead to an overlap of family relationships and social roles and thus to a disturbance of a family bereft of [clear] assignments. … Children of an incestuous relationship have great difficulty finding their place in the family structure and building relationships of trust with their next caregivers. The vital function of the family for the human community … is crucially disturbed if its ordered structure is shaken by incestuous relations.
Liberals tend to recoil from such arguments. They fear that a movement to preserve the “family unit” would roll back equal rights for homosexuals. But that doesn’t follow. Morally, the family-structure argument captures our central intuition about incest: It confuses relationships. Constitutionally, this argument provides a rational basis for laws against incest. But it doesn’t provide a rational basis for laws against homosexuality. In fact, it supports the case for same-sex marriage.
When a young man falls in love with another man, no family is destroyed. Homosexuality is largely immutable, as the chronic failure of “ex-gay” ministries attests. So if you forbid sex between these two men, neither of them is likely to form a happy, faithful heterosexual family. The best way to help them form a stable family is to encourage them to marry each other.
Incest spectacularly flunks this test. By definition, it occurs within an already existing family. So it offers no benefit in terms of family formation. On the contrary, it injects a notoriously incendiary dynamic—sexual tension—into the mix. Think of all the opposite-sex friendships you and your friends have cumulatively destroyed by “crossing the line.” Now imagine doing that to your family. That’s what incest does. Don’t take my word for it. Read The Kiss. Or the sad threads on pro-incest message boards. Or what Woody Allen’s son says about his dad: “He’s my father married to my sister. That makes me his son and his brother-in-law. That is such a moral transgression. I cannot see him. I cannot have a relationship with my father …”
Homosexuality is an orientation. Incest isn’t. If the law bans gay sex, a lesbian can’t have a sex life. But if you’re hot for your sister, and the law says you can’t sleep with her, you have billions of other options. Get out of your house, for God’s sake. You’ll find somebody to love without incinerating your family. And don’t tell me you’re just adding a second kind of love to your relationship. That’s like adding a second kind of life to your body. When a second kind of life grows in your body, we call it cancer. That’s what incest is: cancer of the family.
I wouldn’t prosecute David Epstein. It isn’t necessary. The incest taboo is strong enough to withstand the occasional reckless fool, and I don’t want cops poking around in people’s sex lives. But incest is wrong. There’s a rational basis to forbid it. And we shouldn’t be afraid to say so.